By now you've seen the first video from Josh Tillman's Father John Misty, "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings," which debuted earlier this week and features Parks and Recreation's Aubrey Plaza, who, in my opinion, is one of the most hilarious comediennes in the game right now. The video was directed by Seattle's own Noel Paul, who, either solo or as part of his directing team That Go, has created such miracles of modern music videos as this, this, and this. Paul recently took the time to email me* from Paris, where he is currently working on post-production for a French commercial he shot in Argentina, and answer a few questions about the video, as well as share some behind the scenes stills from the shoot.
How did you meet Josh Tillman?
NP: The thing about being a regular at Flowers [on the Ave] is gradually you know all the other regulars without ever actually having met.
*Paul is 49% my good friend and 51% my number one Words with Friends arch-nemesis.
Why did you choose Aubrey Plaza to be in the video?
I recall sitting in a rental car listening to an early mix of the song and Josh saying something like, "What about a video where Aubrey Plaza trashes a funeral?" The conversation continued over many greyhounds in Seattle and then, later, much rosé with ice cubes and burned frozen pizzas in Laurel Canyon. For my part, interpreting the John Misty universe meant crafting an environment and guiding an experience in which Josh could confront his muses and demons in truthful fantasy.
What was Aubrey's reaction to her part, that she basically had to go crazy?
Aubrey's reaction was to kick ass. She was fearless on set and inspiring to work with.
Describe the shoot to me.
The party was real. It was Josh's friends and neighbors. It was Josh's house. Standing in the room you got the sense that this had all happened before. But now there was a small film crew moving lightly around the edge of it. Josh kept the party going all day and night while Aubrey would dart in and out, swinging through emotional extremes, with me and Director of Photography Michael Ragen trailing behind.
Who is the girl in the mist?
Her name is Alexi Wasser, and the song is about her. She is great. Alexi is a very gifted actress and a funny blogger (http://www.imboycrazy.com/). She was part of Josh's inspiration for the song.